Put Us In the Zoo!

One very fun thing that Cortney and I have in common is our love of zoos and aquariums.  It seems that every summer we somehow find our way to one (well, not last summer.  Last summer we had a zoo in our home with our newborn and everyone coming to look at US).  This week, thanks to my mom, we were able to take Eddie to his first zoo.  But before I get to that, a little retrospective of past zoo/aquarium visits.

The summer of 2004 (the summer when we got engaged) we took a trip to NY to visit friends who were living in Rochester at the time.  We stopped at the Buffalo Zoo for an afternoon.  Of course they had buffalo.

And they also had a rhino.  This zoo was WAY smaller than we expected, but had some good animals.  However, the giraffe feeding, elephant washing, and camel rides their website advertised?  So were not happening.  I was crabby about this.

On a rainy day on our honeymoon in Myrtle Beach in June of 2005, we went to the Ripley’s aquarium.  Cort was braver than I was with all the touching and the holding of sea creatures.

In 2006 we took a trip to Seattle.  We visited the Tacoma Zoo and saw whales and…

reindeer!  It was fun, but sort of hot.  That was one of the nicer zoos we’ve been to, although it was sort of a long drive from where we were staying.

We also visited the aquarium on the Puget sound.  I went into the kid section for some pictures.  What did I think I was doing with that polo and hair do?  Ugg.

In 2007 we went out to Montana.  No zoos, but in South Dakota we saw some REAL buffalo (Cort made me get back in the car because there were signs all over the place about how they will KILL you)…

and in North Dakota we saw this big cow.  But it wasn’t real, so I guess it doesn’t count as part of our animal experiences.

In 2008 we went out to NY again for a wine tour with our friends near Rochester, and on the way home we stopped in the Toledo Zoo.  This has been my favorite zoo so far.  Look at those big polar bears!

They are big…see?

They had camels at this zoo.  I think Cort was trying to impress the camels with his super suave ways.

Did I mention we visit the gift shop at each zoo and buy a new animal?  It’s true.  we were collecting animals for Eddie’s nursery before Eddie was even conceived!  I knew I wanted an animal themed nursery.  Leave it to Cort to find the hooters in Toledo.

On Tuesday my mom brought our little family to the John Ball zoo about 30 minutes from where we live.  Even though we love zoos, Cort and I hadn’t been to the one near home in YEARS!

We saw this Kamodo Dragon.  It was creepy, but pretty neat.  My mom thought it was icky and after he opened his mouth like this she kept talking to it trying to get it to do it again.

We saw lots of monkey butts.  Here is Eddie watching a chimp moon him.  He didn’t seem too traumatized though.  He actually enjoyed watching all the different monkeys.

He even got to play an African drum on his way out of the African exhibits.  Anything that makes noise is cool with him.

 Grandma really wanted Eddie to pet the pygmy goats.  He preferred to point, not pet.

One thing grandma REALLY wanted us to do was ride the camel.  She brought extra money just so we could do it.  I believe her words were, “C’mon, Cort.  I’ve got five dollars burning a hole in my pocket just waiting for you to ride that camel.”  So he did.  We didn’t want to disappoint Grandma!

Even I got on Angel the Camel.  In a skirt, no less.  The ride was much less glamorous than Sarah Jessica Parker made it look in Sex in the City 2, let me tell you!

We saw bears.  A grizzly and a brown bear.  My mom thought those claws were pretty big.  See?

Then we hit the petting zoo where again Grandma tried to get Eddie to pet a goat.  He had more fun running around the area away from the animals.

Eddie and daddy thought the penguins were pretty cool…even after we sneaked the stroller in…shhhhh…

And wouldn’t you know it?  We bought Eddie his own camel to take home!  And he has been sleeping with it every nap and every night.  He loves that darn thing.  I don’t blame him, it is SOFT!

And when we got home?  Louis was in a box.  I guess he felt left out.  He wanted to be looked at in a “habitat” too.

Our family sure does love zoos!  We can’t wait to visit the Indianapolis Zoo (hopefully!) in just a few weeks!

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I haven't been to a zoo in ages – I can't wait to take Matthew to one!

  2. I just love going to the zoo 🙂 This post brought back my childhood and now I need to make plans to go again!

  3. Jennifer Kay says

    Your mom's face looked similar to my Grandma's face when she saw the snake tank last month! We love the zoo too…thanks for all the pics, I love how your mouth is hanging open in about every picture Cort takes of you! HA!

  4. Aww how fun! My hubby isn't generally into that kind of stuff (museums, zoos, etc) but I am hoping I can get him to go with Brayden and I sometime!

  5. torie@Life With Rylie says

    Looks like you had fun! Have you ever been to Sea World? We love to go there, but it helps that we have season passes that hubbys mom give us every year!

  6. Dude. Atlanta has a zoo AND an aquarium. Just sayin'.

    I'd love to take J there. And Eddie would be a GREAT zoo guide for him since he's so versed in zoos.

    But really, glad y'all had fun!

  7. Looks like a fun family day. Great pics too. Wishin we had a zoo nearby. Our closest one is 2 hrs away and is called Blank Park Zoo. Hmm…

  8. Indy zoo rocks!!! Or @ least it did when we were there 9 yrs ago with DS. His name is Joe, we took a pic of him in the cardboard kanga's pouch. Joe –>> Joey. Get it?? Oh … never mind. We (well, really only I) thought it was funny/cute.

  9. Americas Best Zoos author says

    Nice pictures! You are being great parents by taking your son to the zoo regularly. I and my wife certainly got our kids to many zoos while they were growing up.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America's Best Zoos

  10. Grace @ Arms Wide Open says

    how fun! i love how many animals eddie was able to actually pet. That is really cool! maybe someday we'll be frolicking through the guadalajara zoo together! 😉

  11. I love the zoo!!! I'm only ten months old and I've been to the Bronx Zoo three times!

  12. missy widener says

    how did I miss this post?! love it! love the mix of old school zoo pics and now with the three of you! and I want my own camel, too!! eddie, you are too cute my sweet boy.

  13. Mungee's Ma says

    I love your tradition of buying a new animal with every zoo visit. I rode a camel in Israel. Imagine having to get on the camel while it is laying on the ground and then trying to stay balanced when it stands up!

    We'll have to take another trip to our zoo with Mungee when it's not so hot outside. We've taken her a couple times, but now that she's a little older, I think she'll enjoy it much more!